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March 22, 2014

Neuter program may need fiscal surgery

CHICKASHA —

Funding for Chickasha's spay and neuter program may be running out at the end of March, but the city is discussing ways to keep the program going until June.

The city contributed a total of $10,700 to fund the spay and neuter program for a fiscal year in September, which was spent by December. The city added $5,500 in donations and a rescue group, Friends for Change, began donating $30 for each adopted animal. The donations will run out at the end of March.

Chickasha City Manager Stewart Fairburn said the city is debating whether to go back to a deposit program, in which adopters promise to get their pet fixed and get it back when they show proof, look at alternate funding or see if the city can simply contribute a smaller percentage for spaying and neutering.

"The need has outstripped donations," Fairburn said. "It is important to have the animals fixed, so that they do not exacerbate the problem by having more unwanted puppies and kittens…The city will be looking at this program to see if tax payer dollars should be used to pay for spaying and neutering or a portion thereof. It has been a very successful program that most municipalities do not have."

He said the spay and neuter program isn't the only one suffering from lack of funds.

"For the last several years, the city has had to eliminate city positions, which has impacted police, parks and public works services," Fairburn said. "Based on the current year, $30,000 a year is needed to fully fund a free spay and neuter program.

Discussion of starting a new spay and neuter program began in fall 2012 when Fairburn convened a group to discuss citizens not spaying and neutering their pets. At the time, Fairburn said the adopters would pay a deposit upon adoption and get it back after the pet was spayed or neutered, but some deposits weren't getting picked up. 

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